Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Don't Skip The Preparticipation Physical Exam
by Dev Mishra, August 17th, 2012 3:09AM
Subscribe to Youth Soccer Insider

MOST READ
TAGS:  high school boys, high school girls, youth boys, youth girls

MOST COMMENTED

By Dev K. Mishra, M.D.

The "sports physical," formally known as the preparticipation physical exam (PPE), is an important part of an athlete’s summer regimen. Most high schools require a preseason physical exam but one of the ways many young athletes can fall through the cracks is with competitive club sports that typically have absolutely no requirement for the PPE.  My strong advice to club sport athletes: don’t skip the preparticipation physical exam.

What Is A Sports Physical?
The PPE is a screening examination that is given to athletes before the start of a sports season. Objectives of the preparticipation evaluation include:

* Screening for life-threatening or permanent conditions, such as heart conditions or asthma.

* Evaluation and screening of concussion risk.

* Screening for treatable or avoidable injuries, such as muscle or joint injuries.

* Opportunity for a young athlete to interact with a knowledgeable physician. A simple conversation might bring up an issue that could easily be solved and prevent future issues.

The exact requirements, including the frequency of subsequent PPEs, (yearly, every two years, or only before the first year of competition) vary among schools, states, and organizations. The PPE can be performed by the athlete’s primary care physician, a sports physician, or by a coordinated medical team with “stations” for different parts of the exam.

What Happens If Problems Are Found
Most athletes will be cleared for full participation after the PPE.  But some athletes will need further testing or evaluation by other specialists prior to clearance. In rare cases where participation is restricted, efforts are made to find an alternative sport at which the athlete can participate. For example, an athlete with a spine injury would not be cleared for tackle football but may be allowed to swim or run track.

There are several conditions that may unfortunately result in disqualification from some or all sports, including cardiac, neurological, musculoskeletal, infectious, skin, and pulmonary issues. Other general conditions that might require special consideration regarding participation include sickle cell trait, diabetes, loss of a paired organ, eating disorders and epilepsy. Cardiac issues are especially important because they are the most likely to lead to sudden death in athletes.

A general principle is that any athlete who has had any cardiac symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, light-headedness, syncope (passing out), or palpitations (irregular heart beat) should have a thorough medical work-up before being cleared for sports.

When I’m doing a PPE I sometimes find that a young athlete will try to hide an ongoing issue out of fear that they will be automatically disqualified. From a practical standpoint total disqualification is rare, but more commonly we may find issues that need correction before full clearance. While that might take some time to be corrected the end result is a better, healthier athlete able to compete at their best.

(Dr. Dev K. Mishra is the creator of the SidelineSportsDoc.com injury management program for coaches. He is an orthopedic surgeon in private practice in Burlingame, Calif. He is a member of the team physician pool with the U.S. Soccer Federation and has served as team physician at the University of California, Berkeley. This article first appeared on SidelineSportsDoc.com.)



1 comment
  1. daren moon
    commented on: August 17, 2012 at 10:21 a.m.
    A couple years ago my son who was 16 at the time was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome during a PPE. While it excluded him from high school sports that year, he is now cleared after undergoing an ablation.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Youth Soccer Insider
Tips for attending a college ID camp    
With summer being a popular time for young players to attend College ID camps, we've asked ...
Gottschee and FC Dallas take No. 1 seeds into Development Academy playoffs    
FC Dallas and BW Gottschee of Queens, New York, are the No. 1 seeds in the ...
Teen stars sign with MLS clubs    
In the wake of Atlanta United, set to begin MLS play in 2017, signing 15-year-old Andrew ...
How refs deal with trash-talking    
"Look at the scoreboard" and "You got nothing" are two common things that trash-talking players say.
Does American soccer really only work for white kids?    
Les Carpenter's article for the London-based Guardian on American youth soccer is headlined: "'It's only working ...
Changing the Canvas: Finding Inspiration Outside of our Beautiful Game    
My wife is a developmental psychologist. For two decades she has been studying children and the ...
'Toughest World Cup yet' awaits U.S. U-17 girls    
The USA will face Paraguay, Ghana and defending champion Japan in the first round of 2016 ...
John Hackworth: India experience provides valuable lessons for U.S. U-17 boys    
In its third international tournament of the year, the U.S. U-17 boys national team finished runner-up ...
Adding to the alphabet soup of American youth soccer    
If your children play soccer in the USA, they may be playing under the umbrella of ...
Insights on European scouting of U.S. youngsters by 'Arsenal Yankee' Danny Karbassiyoon    
Daniel Karbassiyoon jokes that Arsenal kept him from going to college twice. The first time, at ...
>> Youth Soccer Insider Archives